Words of wisdom for efficiency

Thursday 10 May 2018
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Businesses are busy places. There’s a million things to do. It’s easy to get crushed by the weight of daily deadlines, especially with the end of the financial year fast approaching.

Omania Terry has three words of wisdom for business owners and managers: ‘Stop and breathe’. No Omania isn’t a yoga instructor or a wellness practitioner. She’s an efficiency expert who works with businesses to help them ‘get the right things right’.

‘I’m continually amazed, but not surprised, at the number of businesses that waste time, money and effort,’ says Omania, who has a Masters’ of Business Administration. ‘Business and profitability is about efficiency. What’s needed, to avoid burnout, loss of clients and loss of reputation, is manageable changes that drive big improvements. Otherwise, businesses keep foolishly tossing profits out the window.’

Omania says the idea of ‘efficiency’ is something most businesses inherently understand. The issue is that owners or managers are often too swamped to get there.

‘Depending on how crazy the situation is, you should bring in an efficiency expert to help you think clearly and map out a plan of attack,’ says Omania. ‘Failing that make sure you focus on three main areas—people, technology and finance, which are all fertile ground for inefficiencies.’

If you feel your organisation can achieve efficiencies using internal resources, that’s great, but Omania says to ensure you adopt a methodical approach.

‘No matter what industry or sector you’re in, or whatever stage your business is in, efficiencies start with marking out major chunks of time in your calendar and then focusing without disruption,’ says Omania. ‘Without this, things will drag on and no progress will be made.’

When aiming to gain efficiency, Omania says businesses should always examine systems and processes to streamline them wherever possible. Implementing new or refining existing procedures is invaluable, as is improving productivity.

‘This type of exercise can involve designing and rolling our major change,’ says Omania. ‘Businesses must be prepared to restructure office management and backend support.’

Another area often ripe for efficiency is supplier relationships with Omania challenging businesses to conduct an audit, assess value-for-money, and source new suppliers if required. ‘We get used to using the same suppliers because it’s quick and easy,’ says Omania, ‘but it can also work against business if you’re not on top of what’s the best for you competitively. The market changes quickly, both what’s on offer and how much it costs.’

Omania has worked with Canberra’s Compass Wealth Group on getting the right things right in several areas. ‘Compass was on the right track,’ says Omania, ‘but they started to grow quickly with new clients and staff coming on board all at the same time. They didn’t want their growth to affect service levels and so leaned on an efficiency expert approach to catch things early.’

Founder of Compass, Barry Jennings, said the company provides expert broker services for clients looking for loans and is structured around providing service anywhere, anytime. ‘This makes it challenging to stay in the office all day to work on systems and other efficiencies, so we thought we’d bring an expert it to develop a strategy that was practical and then support implementation and then keep us on track,’ says Barry. ‘It’s freed us up to get out there to continue to grow and do what we love most, which is working with clients to get them the best loan possible.’

Currently Omania is working with clients operating in a range of industries, including IT, finance, health, retail and food and beverage. ‘No matter what type or size of business, it’s important to remember that efficiency isn’t something you do once and then stop,’ says Omania. ‘Efficiency is a moving beast and you have to move with it.’

When sourcing an efficiency expert don’t be oversold on what you need. ‘The best efficiency experts are always prepared to dip in and out depending on where your business is at, often coming in to develop strategy and then returning periodically for a health check,’ says Omania.

Are the results real, you ask?

One business Omania worked with last year, reworked their systems, made major reduction in staffing numbers, and increased their profit by tens of thousands. Another business reshaped processes, lightening the load for the CEO and the team, improving staff morale and striking a health work-life balance along the way. Still another, managed to pull off a national conference for the first time without getting behind on regular work priorities.

‘My bet is that no matter how efficient you think you are, an expert will find a way for you to improve,’ says Omania.